Fruit is nature’s candy, and we all know that nothing tastes better on a hot summer day! But fruit grows with the seasons, therefore, we can’t always count on our favorite sweet, local ‘candies’ to be ripe exactly when we want them. This year has been a difficult one for our Colorado fruit orchards - we saw a late start to the season due to a late frost, as well as an influx in predators. This caused the quantity of fruit to decrease this season, and thus the price of fruit to increase.
In April, Palisade, CO (where a lot of Colorado fruit is grown), was hit by a late frost causing many crops to freeze and render the fruit unharvestable. Our fruit farmer, Topp Fruits, is located in the North Fork Valley, and thankfully were not affected as severely as in Palisade, though the frost did cause a delayed start to their season.
Unfortunately, once the cherries started to ripen on Topp Fruits Farm, the birds swooped in. It’s hard to say why there was such an influx of bird predators this year (maybe it was that fewer farmers had fruit so the birds had to flock together, or maybe because last year’s fruit was so plentiful that the birds wanted a bigger bite!). Usually, about a third of the cherry crop is consumed by pests and/or birds, but this year about 50% of the total cherry crop was taken. You can protect cherries from birds using certain deterrents such as visual and auditory deterrents, but these methods don't last that long - maybe only a week or so. Topp Fruit will be testing new techniques to try and reduce pest activity, but it’s all a game of trial of error in the world of farming. Thus, with the increase in birds wanting to take a taste of our delicious cherries, the cherry season ended abruptly.
Looking ahead, Harrison Topp of Topp Fruit says he remains “cautiously optimistic” about the remainder of the season. Both the peach and plum crops are looking good, and even though the temperatures during the day are very high, we still have cooler nights, which means we could still have great quality peaches this year! And, as Harrison Topp likes to say, let’s not forget about the cream-of-the-crop, apple season! Harrison is expecting Honeycrisp, Jonagold, Fugi, Gala, and more, and they are very excited.
A message from Harrison Topp:
"We know people want what they order, and we are disappointed and sad that we don't have more fruit to offer right now. In Colorado, and with an unpredictable weather system, there are a lot of challenges to growing fruit, but we wholeheartedly appreciate that people stand with us and support us while we face these challenges - because the stone fruit in Colorado is really incredible. If there's one thing we love more than growing fruit, it's selling fruit and sharing it with people.”
We are sorry that this hasn’t been the most bountiful fruit season so far, but we are so thankful for our hard-working and resilient fruit farmers, and for our wonderful shareholders for standing with them!